Report: Players’ union may appeal Kyrie Irving suspension, return terms
The Brooklyn Nets have suspended Kyrie Irving for a minimum of five games based on his Tweet promoting an antisemitic film, then his reaction afterward. The Nets also have laid out a six-step path for him to return to playing.Those steps have raised eyebrows among other players around the league and the players’ union is considering an appeal, NBPA vice president Jaylen Brown told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
“I’m expecting the NBPA to appeal the suspension from Brooklyn. The terms, etc., that went into his return. The terms for his return, they seem like a lot, and a lot of the players expressed discomfort with the terms...
“He made a mistake. He posted something. There was no distinction. Maybe we can move forward, but the terms in which he has to fulfill to return, I think not just speaking for me, speaking as a vice president from a lot of our players, we didn’t agree with the terms that was required for him to come back and we’re waiting for this Tuesday meeting to happen to see what comes of it. But we’ll go from there. That’s all I’ll say.”
Irving is a member of the players’ union executive committee.
The six steps are for Irving to apologize for his Tweet and condemn the movie he promoted (Irving did apologize on Instagram, but the Nets also want him to apologize verbally while meeting with the media). He agreed to donate $500,000 to anti-hate causes, meeting another criterion. He also has to undergo sensitivity training, antisemitic training, meet with Jewish leaders and meet with Nets owner Joe Tsai. Marc Stein reports Irving will meet with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver later this week.
There are players around the league who feel a couple of those steps were chosen by the Nets because Irving would not fulfill them, allowing the team not to pay him and possibly look to trade him (although his trade value is rock bottom), or even release him. Those steps are more extensive but not out of line with what the Heat fined Meyers Leonard for the use of an antisemitic slur on Twitch while playing a video game.
Team suspensions can be appealed to an arbitrator (in this case, because the suspension will cost Irving nearly $1.3 million).